Please call your congressman and ask him or her to cosponsor HR 525. Remind them this is a jobs bill! We need outside pressure to get this bill passed. Congressmen need to hear from their constituents.
The dramatic recent events in Cyprus have highlighted the fundamental weakness in the European banking system and the extreme fragility of fractional reserve banking. Cypriot banks invested heavily in Greek sovereign debt, and last summer's Greek debt restructuring resulted in losses equivalent to more than 25 percent of Cyprus' GDP. These banks then took their bad investments to the government, demanding a bailout from an already beleaguered Cypriot treasury. The government of Cyprus then turned to the European Union (EU) for a bailout.
The terms insisted upon by the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) before funding the bailout were nothing short of highway robbery. While bank depositors have traditionally been protected in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation, the troika insisted that all bank depositors pay a tax of between 6.75 and 10 percent of their total deposits to help fund the bailout.
While one can sympathize with EU taxpayers not wanting to fund yet another bailout of a poorly-managed banking system, forcing the Cypriot people to pay for the foolish risks taken by their government and bankers is also criminal. In their desire to punish a “tax haven” catering supposedly to Russian oligarchs, the EU elites ensured that ordinary citizens would suffer just as much as foreign depositors. Imagine the reaction if in September 2008, the US government had financed its $700 billion bank bailout by directly looting American taxpayers' bank accounts!
While the Cypriot parliament rejected that first proposal, they will have no say in the final proposal delivered by the EU and IMF: deposits over 100,000 euros are likely to see losses of at least 40 percent and possibly as much as 80 percent. “Temporary” capital controls that were supposed to last for days will now last at least a month and might remain in effect for years.
Especially affected have been the elderly, who were unable to use ATMs or to transfer money electronically. Despite the fact that ATMs severely limited the size of withdrawals during the two week-long bank closure, reports indicated that account holders who had access to Cypriot bank branches in London and Athens were able to withdraw most of their funds, leading to speculation that there would be no money available when banks finally opened up again. In other words, the supposed Russian oligarch money may well be already gone.
Remember that under a fractional reserve banking system only a small percentage of deposits is kept on hand for dispersal to depositors. The rest of the money is loaned out. Not only are many of the loans made by these banks going bad, but the reserve requirement in Euro-system countries is only one percent! If just one euro out of every hundred is withdrawn from banks, the bank reserves would be completely exhausted and the whole system would collapse. Is it any wonder, then, that the EU fears a major bank run and has shipped billions of euros to Cyprus?
The elites in the EU and IMF failed to learn their lesson from the popular backlash to these tax proposals, and have openly talked about using Cyprus as a template for future bank bailouts. This raises the prospect of raids on bank accounts, pension funds, and any investments the government can get its hands on. In other words, no one's money is safe in any financial institution in Europe. Bank runs are now a certainty in future crises, as the people realize that they do not really own the money in their accounts. How long before bureaucrat and banker try that here?
Unfortunately, all of this is the predictable result of a fiat paper money system combined with fractional reserve banking. When governments and banks collude to monopolize the monetary system so that they can create money out of thin air, the result is a business cycle that wreaks havoc on the economy. Pyramiding more and more loans on top of a tiny base of money will create an economic house of cards just waiting to collapse. The situation in Cyprus should be both a lesson and a warning to the United States. We need to end the Federal Reserve, stay away from propping up the euro, and return to a sound monetary system.
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[QUOTE]Ron Paul spoke this morning in Santiago, Chile.
William Kristol knows what is wrong with the United States. As he wrote recently in the flagship magazine of the neo-conservatives, the Weekly Standard, the problem with the US is that we seem to have lost our appetite for war. According to Kristol, the troubles that have befallen us in the 20th century have all been the result of these periodic bouts of war-weariness, a kind of virus that we catch from time to time.
He claims because of the US “drawdown” in Europe after World War II, Stalin subjugated Eastern Europe. Because of war weariness the United States stopped bombing Southeast Asia in the 1970s, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. War weariness through the 1990s led to Rwanda, Milosevic, and the rise of the Taliban. It was our fault for not fighting on! According to Kristol, our failure to act as the policeman of the world is why we were attacked on September 11, 2001. Of the 1990s, he wrote, “[t]hat decade of not policing the world ended with 9/11.”
That revisionism is too much even for fellow neo-conservatives like Paul Wolfowitz to swallow. In a 2003 interview, Wolfowitz admitted that it was the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia that led to the growth of al-Qaeda:
"(W)e can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It's been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda. In fact if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina.”
But for Kristol and his allies there is never enough war. According to a new study by Brown University, the US invasion of Iraq cost some 190,000 lives, most of them non-combatants. It has cost more than $1.7 trillion, and when all is said and done including interest the cost may well be $6 trillion. Some $212 billion was spent on Iraqi reconstruction with nothing to show for it. Total deaths from US war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have been at least 329, 000. None of this is enough for Kristol.
The neo-con ideology promotes endless war, but neo-cons fight their battles with the blood of others. From the comfortable, subsidized offices of magazines like the Weekly Standard, the neo-conservatives urge the United States to engage in endless war – to be fought by the victims of the “poverty draft” from states where there are few jobs. Ironically, these young people cannot find more productive work because the Federal Reserve’s endless money printing to keep the war machine turning has destroyed our economy. The six trillion dollars that will be spent on the Iraq war are merely pieces of printed paper that further erode the dollar’s purchasing power now and well into the future. It is the inflation tax, which is the most regressive and cruel of all.
Yes, Americans are war weary, concedes Kristol. But he does not blame the average American. The real problem is that the president has dropped the ball on terrifying Americans with the lies and imaginary threats that led to the invasion of Iraq. Writes Kristol: “One can’t, for example, be surprised at the ebbing support of the American public for the war in Afghanistan years after the president stopped trying to mobilize their support, stopped heralding the successes of the troops he’d sent there, and stopped explaining the importance of their mission.”
If only we had more war propaganda from the highest levels of government we could be cured of this war-weariness. Ten years ago the US invaded Iraq under the influence of neo-conservative lies. Those lies continued to promote US military action in places like Libya, and next on their agenda is Syria and then on to Iran. It is time for the American people to shout “enough!”
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I’ve just learned that senators supporting the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” are planning to force a full Senate vote on Internet taxes this Wednesday by attaching it to the Senate’s budget resolution.
This misguided proposal, despite being masked in “conservative-sounding” talking points, sets the stage for government at all levels to snatch another helping of your money via the Internet and opens the door for even more federal regulations.
More accurately described as the National Internet Tax Mandate, this legislation allows states to tax businesses without any “physical presence” in their state, ignoring the standard established by the Supreme Court in Quill v. North Dakota.
It flips the original intent of the Commerce Clause on its head by subjecting businesses to burdensome out-of-state taxes and represents the worst sort of taxation without representation.
And big-spending governors just can’t wait to get their hands on what essentially amounts to new bailout money through the federal government forcing more taxes on their citizens.
Federal spending once again dominated the debate in Washington last week, as House Republicans and Senate Democrats began work on their ten-year budget plans. Contrary to claims, neither party’s budget reduces spending. While the Republican plan increases spending a little less than the Democrat plan, it would still spend $5 trillion in 2023, an almost two trillion dollar increase over this year’s budget.
Of course, these projections of future budgets are meaningless, as a current Congress cannot bind a future one. Therefore, the projected spending for next year is the only part of the budget with any significance. So is there a great gulf between the two parties’ budgets for next year? No. For fiscal year 2014, the Democrat budget proposes spending $3.7 trillion, while the “radical” Republican budget spends $3.5 trillion!
While the two parties bicker over minor differences in spending, the stock market, which many in Washington predicted would crash unless the parties reached a “grand bargain” on taxes and spending, seems unaffected by the various manufactured budget crises. Unfortunately, the market’s indifference to Washington spending games is based on the fallacy that the deficit does not matter as long as the Federal Reserve is willing to monetize the federal debt.
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